Industry Shutters Partnership For Responsible Addressable Media

The ad industry is winding down the Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media, a broad coalition of companies that launched 18 months ago with the goal of convincing Google and Apple to reconsider restrictions on ad companies' ability to track people across websites and apps.

Soon after the organization launched, Apple rolled out new mobile privacy settings that require developers to obtain people's opt-in consent to tracking on an app-by-app basis. Google recently said it also will curb developers' ability to track Android users across apps and, while Google has delayed plans to block tracking cookies on the Chrome browser, it still plans to move forward with cookie-blocking by 2023.

Venable attorney Stu Ingis, who headed the organization's legal and policy working group, told MediaPost at launch that the group planned to reach out to browser developers and platforms.

These companies are taking huge positions that impact the entire economy -- the entire media eco-system -- with no real input from the media ecosystem,” Ingis said at the time.

The Partnership for Responsible Media said Thursday that its work around addressable identifiers -- including a new policy framework, also issued Thursday -- will be brought under the umbrella of the self-regulatory group Digital Advertising Alliance. 

That framework defines addressable identifiers as any mechanism to identify and recognize people or their devices, browsers or applications. Browser-based cookies are included in that definition, as are identifiers provided by platforms (such as the Apple Identifier for Advertisers) and data about devices (such as installed fonts, operating system, browsers, battery levels and the like) used by ad-tech companies to "fingerprint" smartphones, laptops and other computers

The policy framework, much like the industry's longstanding privacy code, requires companies to notify consumers via an icon about online behavioral advertising -- meaning ads targeted to users based on their activity across sites -- and obtain their consent. 

The framework allows companies to obtain opt-out consent to draw on “non-sensitive” data for advertising, and requires opt-in consent to use sensitive data -- including inferences or information about certain health conditions and precise geolocation data. The new framework would also prohibit companies from using addressable identifiers in connection with certain data -- including financial account information, government issued identifiers (such as Social Security numbers) and some forms of biometric data.

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